Exploring an Ancient Relationship
The Elephant Enigma Project
aims to celebrate the beauty and intelligence of these giants
while alluding to their long and complex relationship with humans and the struggles and challenges they face in an increasingly hostile world.
Dynamic life-size panels, video, artifacts, photographs printed on fine fabric, text, transparent images and shadows, make this an accessible, thought-provoking and emotionally engaging exhibit.
Trento International Film Festival, Trento, Italy
Rangoli Metro Art Center, Bengaluru, India
David House, Fort Kochi, India
Ah Haa Gallery, Telluride, USA
Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Canada
Fortune Gallery, Victoria, BC
Dag Goering at the Kochi Exhibit
Documentary photography has been a large part of my life since my teens, when I began shooting and working in the darkroom. Over the last thirty years I have travelled widely, witnessing massive changes in once pristine ecosystems. As a result the focus of my work is wild places and animals, and how we relate to them.
Elephants entered my life serendipitously, when I was in Rajasthan, India volunteering as a veterinarian. One of the elephants kept at Amer Fort for tourist rides had given birth, and I was called in to check her calf. I had just finished the examination when a fully grown female wrapped her trunk around my wrist and pulled me so close that we were eye to eye. I knew she could kill me in an instant, yet I felt only awe. In her steady gaze I recognized a being with deep emotions, a rare consciousness, some kind of mysterious 'knowing'. Those few moments changed my life, setting me on a journey to advocate for elephants.
With the Elephant Enigma Project I wanted to go beyond the traditional documentary approach, breaking away from the confines of matted and framed images in order to give the viewer a deep emotional experience as well as a broader understanding of elephants and our complex relationship with them.
My work is informed by my longstanding practice in photography and other visual media as well as my scientific background in veterinary medicine.
I believe that art and science are not incompatible ways of viewing and interpreting the world around us. To affect real change we must engage the heart as well as the mind.
I welcome opportunities to bring this work to new audiences and affect a change in our awareness of the plight of these magnificent creatures.
Exhibit Typography and Design - Tara Williams
Writing - Maria Coffey